Published by Orion
ebook and Hardback : 11 January 2018 | Paperback: 31 May 2018
Source: Advanced Reading Copy
A new book by Erica James is always a treat. I’ve read almost all her books over the years and have reviewed four previous stories on this blog. When I had the opportunity to review Coming Home to Island House for the Lovereading Reader Panel I didn’t need to think twice!
| About the Book |
From Erica James, bestselling author of Summer at the Lake, comes an enchanting tale of one family coming together and finding their way.
It’s the summer of 1939, and after touring an unsettled Europe to promote her latest book, Romily Temple returns home to Island House and the love of her life, the charismatic Jack Devereux.
But when Jack falls ill, his estranged family are called home and given seven days to find a way to bury their resentments and come together.
With war now declared, each member of the family is reluctantly forced to accept their new stepmother and confront their own shortcomings. But can the habits of a lifetime be changed in one week? And can Romily, a woman who thrives on adventure, cope with the life that has been so unexpectedly thrust upon her?
* * *
Coming Home to Island House is set between August 1939 and December 1940 with the story incorporating the early years of WW2. Author Romily Temple-Devereux is very much in love with her new husband Jack however her life changes drastically when she unexpectedly finds herself having to deal with his estranged family; a family that comes with a lot of baggage and they bring their old hurts and unhappiness with them.
As ever with Erica’s books, the characters are superbly bought to life with all their flaws making them so realistic. Jack’s three children, Arthur, Kit and Hope and the adopted sibling Allegra all feel hard done by on account of their father’s lack of attention over the years and when they are forced to spend time in each other’s company, they will either pull together or grow further apart.
Whilst so many of the characters were engaging, for me, Romily was the star of the book. A no-nonsense but sympathetic character she did her best for the family that she found herself saddled with. Juxtaposed with her practical, common sense approach, she had an adventurous nature – she could fly a plane, she had raced cars at Brooklands. She was not adverse to taking risks but perhaps her biggest test was to come at Island House.
Narrated in the third person by various members of the family, this story is very much based on family dynamics and all that it endures – with times of joy and heartbreak and the realisation that perhaps your perception of someone may have been wrong. The story was exceptionally well told and there wasn’t a moment when I wasn’t immersed in the lives of the Devereux family – the drama and unexpected turn of events often bringing a lump to my throat. In just a couple of pages I was taken from scenes of domesticity to young men having to deal with the horrors of war.
I’m sure this will be another huge success for Erica James. I loved it and I was really quite sad to leave Romily and the other characters when I came to the end. Well, actually there was one person that I wasn’t sorry to say goodbye to, however you will have to read the book to find out who that is!
My thanks to Lovereading and to the publisher for the advanced reading copy. I have to admit falling in love with the cover at first sight. It so accurately sums up the story within.
| About the Author |
With an insatiable appetite for other people’s business, Erica James will readily strike up conversation with strangers in the hope of unearthing a useful gem for her writing. She finds it the best way to write authentic characters for her novels, although her two grown-up sons claim they will never recover from a childhood spent in a perpetual state of embarrassment at their mother’s compulsion.
The author of many bestselling novels, including GARDENS OF DELIGHT, which won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award, and her recent Sunday Times top ten bestsellers, SUMMER AT THE LAKE and THE DANDELION YEARS, Erica now divides her time between Suffolk and Lake Como in Italy, where she strikes up conversation with unsuspecting Italians.